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Some things are neither right or wrong and are viewed favorable, or not, all on the merit of preference of the individual.
For instance, I get e-mails from a couple of real estate companies and some of the houses for sale or rent are very distasteful to me because of, (would you believe it?)...the GARAGE.
Some of the homes with a garage seem to magnify the garage; it stands out like big sore thumb with the main entrance of the house receding into the background.
I think, \"Oh, WOW, a garage with an attached house!\"
Hummm, not my preference. I like a garage to be with my house, but not the center of focus.
The same situation regarding preferences applies to \"matters of disputation\" about which Paul talks in Romans, 14: 1.
The Jews, who said they were \"believers in Jesus,\" but who disagreed with Paul\'s instructions to the newly converted pagans, dogged his steps throughout his ministry. They followed Paul from town to town and country to country telling the new converts that they must, in effect, become Jews and live by the Law, and observe food restrictions, and observance of certain days. Those same spirits are alive in some today who say that they are \"Jews who believe in Jesus.\"
Certainly not all Jews who call themselves by the Name of Jesus are doing this, but many are, and they want to add to us more than Jesus requires of us for salvation.
We do not, nor do they, obtain salvation by doing anything but the one thing Jesus requires, and that is to confess to Him that we need a Savior and to invite Him to come into our hearts and lives.
It is true that once we have obtained salvation there are things we do, and do not, but those things do not include what we eat, or which day of the week we choose to engage in worship and rest; and neither will those observances give us salvation, nor keep us from it.
The entire chapter of Romans 14, as well as most of the New Testament writings, tell us that there is NOW a New Covenant and some of the things required in the former Covenant changed in regard to how salvation and righteous standing with God is acquired.
Paul makes it clear to the new converts, and to the Jews, who were also new converts, in a sort of way, that some subjects are not to be given to argumentative conversation.
If, says Paul, one person wants to observe Sabbath, okay, nothing wrong with it. If another person wants to worship on the first day of the week, okay, nothing wrong with it. If yet another person says, everyday is the same to me, I worship God everyday; okay, nothing wrong with it.
The same principles apply to things we eat or choose to not eat. The Kingdom of God is not in food, or drink, nor the observance of certain days; it is rather, says Paul, found in love, joy, peace, and The Holy Ghost.
I have to wonder why the Jews who followed Paul to subvert his teachings to the new Churches did so?
I think I hear a common thread of concern in most of the Rabbis that I hear today. They do not want to let go of their traditions, and I am not certain much of what they want is wrong for them, but those \"traditions\" must not be forced upon the non-Jews who are also believers in Jesus.
I think I hear also a concern for the distasteful prospect of loss of National identity. None of us are required to become another race, or nation, or ethnic group, just because we become Christians.
In time to come there will be a dissolving of all of our personal identity descriptors, and we will be citizens of Heaven only; but until that time we hold dual citizenship.
So Paul\'s message to us all is that we need to be respectful and encouraging of each other, and allow for differences in matters of no consequence.
Yes, we exercise tolerance in those \"disputable matters,\" but not all matters are disputable and we, as believers and followers of God, must know which things are disputable and which things God has called absolute sin; with those things we do not either dispute among ourselves, because whatever God says is sin, is sin.
Such other matters about which we do not dispute, are: all kinds of sexual indecencies, robbery, lying, cursing, gossiping; such a list is found in Galatians 5; we find there a grade card by which we may grade (judge) ourselves, all of that list applies to those who say they believe in Jesus.
For those who do not, or who have not yet made that profession of faith in Jesus, they remain in the sin with which they were born, and what they do, or do not do of good or bad, will not give to them eternal life.
So friend, you may prefer your house with a huge outstanding garage; nothing wrong with that, only I don\'t have that preference. That does not mean we do not both live in a house where there is love, and joy, peace, and The Holy Ghost.
Romans 10: 9 - 13: \"IF you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, \"Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile - the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him, for, everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.\"
This, by the way, was the way Abraham himself was justified, before there was an Isaac or Jacob.
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